MotoGP rookie Cal Crutchlow has become the second rider to make use of the lengthened break between rounds two and three of the 2011 world championship to undergo surgery.
First Dani Pedrosa underwent shoulder surgery on Tuesday to try and cure the left-arm numbness he has struggled with since having a broken collarbone plated.
And now Crutchlow, who underwent a shoulder operation of his own during the winter, has undergone arm-pump surgery in Italy after suffering similar symptoms, albeit a different cause, during his first two premier-class races.
In Crutchlow's case, muscles in his right arm were trapping nerves and causing numbness in his right hand and arm while riding his Monster-backed Yamaha M1.
Crutchlow will have stitches removed in 12 days time and he is confident he will be fully fit when practice for the Estoril round in Portugal commences on April 29.
"Since the start of the year I've had a problem with my arm muscles and nerves and my hand went numb when I was riding,” said Crutchlow. “It started in Sepang in testing and it occurs each time I ride the bike. Therefore we decided to do this operation to solve the issue, so I can be in 100 per cent physical condition for the rest of the season.
“With this break we have now, it was the perfect time to have the surgery and be assured that I can be back in peak condition for the next race in Portugal. At the moment I can't feel two of my fingers, but the doctor said that is completely normal and that the feeling will come back very soon.
“They had to move the muscles from the nerves as the muscle was trapping the nerves and that's why I was losing feeling in my hand and arm. The doctors said that in 12 days the stitches will come off and I will be able to ride in Portugal, so I'm really looking forward to riding the bike without the problem with my arm.”
Team manager Herve Poncharal admitted mid-season surgery is always a risk, but felt it was the right thing to do.
“To have surgery once the season has started is always a worry, but I think Cal made the right decision as we have this long break now before the next race in Portugal,” he said. “If he didn't have the operation the problem could get bigger and bigger, and you need to be at 100 per cent to ride in MotoGP and be competitive.